A Day Off

Not in her lab.

Not in the infirmary talking with Janet.

Not in the cafeteria … there was still blue jello in the display case.

Not in her quarters … no one answered the knock, at least.

Not in the gate room.

Not in the control room.

Not in the briefing room.

He finally spotted her going through the door to one of the stairwells and followed her. She was sitting on the steps, leaning against the wall, eyes closed, looking seriously tired.

She heard the door open and close, then footsteps and opened her eyes to see Jack standing next to her, looking slightly worried. He sat down on the bottom step facing her. She'd closed her eyes again and didn't say anything.

After awhile Jack broke the silence. "Are you okay?"

She nodded, and finally said, "I'm hiding."

Not the usual "I'm fine" answer Jack was expecting, but he played along. "I'll bite. Who from?"

"Jay Felger."

"Ah." What else was there to say? Safe to say that pretty much everyone, at one time or another, wanted to hide from Felger. He was just surprised it had taken Sam so long to do it.

"I've been working on a project, and he's interrupted me about 10 times this morning already with questions that are just ridiculous, and I can't get any work done. And I decided if I stuck around and he asked me one more question, I might accidentally cause him some kind of serious injury that I wouldn't be able to explain rationally. So I'm hiding."

Jack had difficulty not laughing. He wasn't sure Sam would take it well at that moment.

"Seriously, sir, if Chloe doesn't get back from her vacation soon, I may just have to take drastic measures to keep Jay out of my lab."

"Well, I'm going to Denver tomorrow. Why don't you come along and we'll see what kind of trouble we can get into – I'm talking ice cream, burgers, milk shakes, cake, window shopping, fair grounds - and did I mention cake? Come on, what do you say? You know, a day off? Even you have to take them once in awhile, Carter."

Jack was pleased to see Sam's interest perk up, and she replied slowly, "Well, I have been meaning to go over to Denver to check out a new book store and deli I heard about. They have this great science section …"

"Ah, ah, ah … no science, no work, no technical anything. It's a 'Day Off' Carter." When she pouted slightly, he gave in and agreed they could go to the book store. But only if it was non work related. A tentative compromise was reached between them, and then Jack said, "You better get back to your lab before Felger sends out bloodhounds looking for you."

Bright and early the next morning, Jack arrived at Sam's house to pick her up. She was ready and waiting, surprising herself at her eagerness to get away like this.

She grinned when Jack looked her over rather thoroughly, and then proclaimed that she really cleaned up nicely, and that he approved of her "day off" attire … jeans, a snugly fitting yellow print t-shirt, a light green jacket and tennis shoes.

Grinning, Sam noted his tan slacks, blue plaid shirt, lightweight tan jacket and his ever present baseball cap, and returned the compliment, saying "you clean up nicely, too, sir."

A slight scowl at the word "sir", and Jack said, "How about you drop the 'sir' for today, Carter, and call me 'Jack'." At her hesitation, he added, "Let's make a bet. I'll bet you can't go all day without calling me 'sir' even once."

The glare she gave him at the challenge was worth it to Jack. When she asked what the payment was if she lost, he was a little too hasty with his answer. "You have to go fishing with me."

Rolling her eyes in exasperation, she agreed, sure that she'd be the one to win the bet.

On arriving home late that night, she was exhausted, but couldn't remember the last time she'd enjoyed a day off so much.

She also had a new friend - a huge overstuffed pink pig that Jack had won throwing baseballs trying to knock over pins at an arcade. He presented it to her, saying it would tarnish his image if he kept it and anyone found it in his home. He'd never live down the embarrassment. Sam, however, could get away with having something like this in her home - in other words, he was implying it was a "girl thing" and she found herself laughing at the image of him trying to explain having a stuffed pink pig in his home, and so she agreed to protect his image by relieving him of that burden. She said that if she didn't keep it for herself, they could give it to Cassie.

They rode the ferris wheel and merry-go-round, ate cotton candy and hot dogs, and walked for what seemed like miles.

Jack took great delight in watching Sam open up and enjoy herself, and went out of his way in encouraging her to let go and have a good time. They both participated in a wicked bumper car ride, wherein Sam thoroughly trounced Jack in his car. Sam took great delight in watching Jack's "inner child" (never far from the surface) come out to play.

They stopped at the book store Sam wanted to visit and Jack got her so distracted arguing the merits of several novels he found that she completely forgot about the science books until they had left the book store and moved on to a music store, where they proceeded to argue about what both considered to be "good" music.

Late that evening, they stopped and had dinner at a small restaurant Jack had heard about. He picked out a couple of songs on the jukebox and then asked Sam to dance. A warm feeling flowed through him as he heard (and felt) Sam humming along with the songs.

Having spent a full day playing and never once talking about work, they arrived late back at Sam's house, and she was exhausted. But it was a good kind of exhausted, different from the kind of exhausted she felt from working overly long hours at the SGC. She had to admit to herself that she rather liked the feeling. That feeling might have had something to do with the company.

Until Jack brought it up, she had forgotten about the bet they made when he picked her up earlier in the day.

"So, … when should I pick you up for our fishing trip, Carter?" he said casually.

"Huh?" Sam was so cute when she was confused ... which really didn't happen that often.

"Remember? The bet? Whether you could go all day without calling me 'sir'." He waited a moment for her to realize what he was saying and to think back on the day, … and thoroughly enjoyed the moment when she realized she had, indeed, called him "sir" … not once, but twice. Once, at the book store, in a slightly heated moment, when they were discussing one of the books he had found. And the other, when she was applauding his efforts at knocking down the pins that had won them the stuffed pink pig.

He did start laughing when Sam actually hung her head, disappointed with herself for losing a bet that she was so sure she would win.

Having carried her purchases and prize into her house and setting them on her dining table, he patted her on the back and told her not to worry, even geniuses weren't perfect all the time.

Recovering quickly from her disappointment, and walking him to the door as he prepared to leave, Sam thanked him for talking her into taking the day off. "I had a good time, sir." And noticing the look on his face at the word "sir", she smiled and said "It's after midnight, so it's ok for me to call you that again. We didn't agree to the bet extending into the next day."

Walking out to his truck, the thought struck Jack that Sam didn't really seem disappointed at having lost the bet. In fact, as he considered it, he could swear that she had a somewhat smug look on her face, as though just maybe she hadn't lost the bet after all.